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Every Person Is a Philosopher

Lessons in Educational Emancipation from the Radical Teaching Life of Hal Adams


Edited By Bill Ayers, Caroline Heller and Janise Hurtig

Hal Adams was a legendary radical educator who organized writing workshops with people who had been written off during much of their lives, marginalized for reasons of race, gender, class, and caste. Hal detested the carelessness and neglect his students endured and set about building spaces of respect and reparation. Fostering communities of local writers and publishing their work in journals of «ordinary thought,» the work brought pride and dignity to the authors, carrying the wisdom of their narratives into and beyond their communities. In the traditions of Paulo Freire, Antonio Gramsci, and C.L.R. James, Hal based his approach on the conviction that every person is a philosopher, artist, and storyteller, and that only the insights and imaginings of the oppressed can sow seeds of authentic social change. Every Person Is a Philosopher gathers essays by classroom and community educators deeply influenced by Hal’s educational work and vision, and several essays by Hal Adams. They explore diverse ways this humanizing pedagogy can be applied in a wide range of contexts, and consider its potential to transform students and teachers alike. This is an ideal text for courses in educational foundations, multicultural education, urban studies, sociology of education, English education, social justice education, literacy education, socio-cultural contexts of teaching, adult education, cultural studies, schools and communities, and popular education.
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About the editors


William Ayers is former Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of several books including Teaching Toward Freedom and Public Enemy. Caroline Heller is a professor at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she also directs the Ph.D. Program in Educational Studies (Individually Designed Specialization). She is the author of Until We Are Strong Together and Reading Claudius: A Memoir in Two Parts. Janise Hurtig is co-director of the PRAIRIE Group at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she directs the Community Writing Project. She is the author of Coming of Age in Times of Crisis: Youth, Schooling, and Patriarchy in a Venezuelan Town and co-editor of Gender’s Place: Feminist Anthropologies of Latin America.

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